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No Mask On Zoro

Written by Eric Reynolds

February 29, 2012

“Most Christians over-spiritualize things.” Didn’t expect that from the Minister of Groove.

Zoro the Drummer has toured and recorded with Lenny Kravitz, Bobby Brown, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons and here we are having a Skype chat on a Friday afternoon.

“Christians would have more effectiveness if they said less and did more.” The man’s track record shows me he’s qualified to say such a thing. He’s been featured in the press for his award-winning and best-selling book, but more often for his tight groove. In fact, it’s that groove that caught Lenny Kravitz’ ear one day in high-school.

“He had a funky pocket and a repertoire of grooves,” says Kravitz in the foreword to Zoro’s new book The Big Gig. Was he born to be great? Kravitz thinks “Zoro’s heart, discipline and passion is what propelled him to greatness.” He’s not the only one with this kind of praise. Modern Drummer, Drum!, and Rhythm Magazine have often touted Zoro as the best R&B drummer out there. I quickly learn there is more to the man than his groove.

“The most idiotic thing I’ve heard is this idea that you can become great at something without any work.” So I guess you don’t get along well with Todd Rungren then? I’m not funny enough to ask him that on the spot so he continues. “Why would we think fulfilling our dream would require anything less than structure?” That’s the point of the four hundred page, QR code filled book The Big Gig. It’s not just another book, he tells me. “God called me to write it decades ago.”

In fact, he says God has called him to do a lot of things, which shouldn’t come as a surprise. The guy prays this every day: “Lord, how would you like to use me?” Surrender marks Zoro’s life, but not in the passive or monastic way that might come to mind. “I know my earthly assignment,” he says matter-of-factly, “but I ask how, or in what way? I try to be sensitive to Him. There are divine assignments for all of us.”

So you’re saying there’s work to be done? I like this guy. If this is the kind of stuff in his book, I’m thinking it will be a great gift for my avid drummer brother. “It will change his life.” Zoro drops that in my lap and leaves me wondering, like he has surely done to countless others. As if to make the book inescapable, he continues: “Take what God gave you by force. It’s a false humility to say, ‘I’m just waiting on the Lord.’ Yes, there is a time for that, but there is a difference between passivity and waiting while action is still going on.”

By force? “Sure. Why would Hell want you to succeed at what God has put you here to do?” If what the Bible says is true, we are in the middle of an intense fiery battle going on in the spiritual realm. Think Braveheart or Lord of the Rings type movie. Every encounter has potential. It’s like George Bailey from It’s A Wonderful Life… everything matters. And that’s not because I’m that great, but because the call is great. God calls us to action; He didn’t make robots.” Now’ I’ve got George Bailey strolling through Mordor in a kilt, being attacked by automatons in my head and I’m positive this is not what Zoro had in mind.

“My gig is to try and train people.” Snap back to reality. Hey, that’s like us! “All dreams have legs: strategies and structure.” Exactly. I’m thinking this guy would really vibe The Life.

What about hardship? “Faith cannot be made real unless it is tested. That’s how God sees what’s in a man’s heart. People get discouraged when they hit roadblocks, but the Lord told you there would be battles!”

Goals. Strategies. Battles. What’s the point of all this? “I want people to have an encounter with the God who lives in me.”

I didn’t know Zoro, and perhaps still don’t, but I can sense a rare excellence and humility, even over Skype.


For information about Zoro the Drummer or his new book The Big Gig, visit thebiggigbook.com. For information about Zoro’s young adult ministry visit zoroministries.org.



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